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Mala Sauce Recipe

Are you a Chinese cuisine fan? If so, we’ve got a special recipe for you today.

It’s going to fill your dishes with a pleasant heat they might be lacking. 

Today’s specialty is mala sauce, which is a certain type of condiment, usually eaten with rice and other meals.

The name mala means “numbingly spicy” in Chinese and is often made out of Szechuan chili peppers, oil, and several other flavorings.

Since mala sauce is a popular and tasty dipping sauce that can be found all over the globe, you must add it to your cookbook.

How to Make Mala Sauce

mala sauce in bowl

Mala sauce is a dish made of a variety of different ingredients and spices, but the recipe remains the same for all of them.

It has a strong flavor, perfect for a variety of dishes like shrimp, chicken, mushrooms, and BBQ pork.

If you enjoy spicy food, you will definitely appreciate mala sauce.

What’s more? It’s actually pretty simple to make.

Once you put your own together, you’ll quickly fall in love with its heavenly taste (No, I’m not exaggerating!)

Besides, you can use it as an everyday sauce or as an addition to pasta dishes, salads, and even pizzas.


Let’s find out what this sauce calls for.


(8 servings) 

  • 2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorn 
  • ½ cup dried chili peppers 
  •  ¼ cup toasted sesame oil 
  • ¾ cup roasted peanut oil
  • 1 small minced garlic clove
  • 1 small minced shallot 
  • 1 pod star anise 
  • ½ small stick cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger


You won’t be using any more hot sauces once you try Mala as it wins your heart instantly. 

Traditionally, pepper and chili flakes are finely ground first.

Then these are combined with other spices such as fennel, clove, ginger, anise, cinnamon, and black cardamom and simmered in vegetable oil. 

However, this famous sauce has seen many variations throughout various countries.

And today we’re going to make one of the most popular takes.

Step 1:

Heat the peanut oil in a skillet over a low heat of 175𐩑F

Step 2: 

Grind the dried chili pepper and Sichuan peppercorns using a food processor or blender to break them into smaller pieces. 

Step 3:

Sift out the Sichuan pepper shells and then set them aside.

Step 4: 

Once the temperature of the peanut oil reaches 225𐩑F it’s time to add all spices.

Add the spices to the oil and mix them gradually.

Let it simmer for another 5 minutes.

Step 5: 

While the sauce is simmering, prepare a jar to pour the mixture into and have the sesame oil on hand. 

After 5 minutes, pour the sauce into the jar, store it, and refrigerate for up to a month.

Enjoy your spicy treasure!

Ingredient Substitution

Once you browse the web, you’re going to find plenty of different Sichuan Mala Sauce recipe variations, as we’ve told you before.

The recipes are not only different across multiple Chinese regions but even across families.

So what prevents you from tweaking the recipe to your preference? Nothing! 

But before you start experimenting, consider our suggestions

Refined Olive Oil

We all are familiar with extra virgin olive oil. But refined olive oil is different.

It undergoes additional processing which involves high heat and chemicals that diminish its flavor and odor.

Sometimes, extra virgin olive oil is blended in to add flavor.

You can even find refined olive oil blended with canola or other vegetable oils.

A fairly high smoke point and neutral flavor make refined olive oil a great substitute for peanut oil.


Allspice is used all over the world as an ingredient for savory dishes, ranking from pumpkin to tomato sauce and apple pie.

It looks like black pepper in shape and color bringing a unique distinct flavor like a blend of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. 

It is a warm and strong spice very similar to anise. So you can easily swap it for your Mala sauce for a particularly pleasant taste.

Black pepper and coriander seeds

Sichuan peppercorn is a key ingredient in the famous Mala sauce.

So removing it from the recipe will make it less authentic.

Still, you can use black pepper and coriander seeds as a substitute. 

This combination of spices gives you a small part of the Sichuan pepper pine and citrus flavors.

It both lightens up your dish and gives it a spicy note.

But it won’t feel the same as the Sichuan peppercorns anyways.

What to Serve with Mala Sauce

It might seem that Chinese condiment calls for Chinese dishes on the side.

It’s true. Mala sauce has been around in Chinese cuisine for quite a while and is used in a wide variety of Asian dishes.

Still, its flavors make it perfect with different kinds of meat, soups, and even stews

Try these and you won’t be disappointed.

Chicken Fried Steak 

If you’re tired of the classic chicken fried steak, it’s time to take the your game to the next level with this savory Mala Sauce.

This condiment will add a truly special Asian twist to the classic breaded steak turning it into the Mala flavor.

You will have the same moist and tender cubed steak.

But next time try to rub it in a delicious marinate of homemade mala sauce. 

Serve with well-seasoned baked potatoes, and a touch of rosemary.

You won’t eat your chicken steak the old way anymore.

Fried Crab Legs

Fried crab legs are special treat seafood lovers would want to get their claws on.

Soft-shell crabs are regular hard-shell crabs, just in a certain stage of growth.

The meat inside is incredibly juicy and bursting with crab flavor. 

Besides, you won’t have any trouble frying this mala-marinated soft-shell crab in a pan.

And there is no prep work at all 一 just wash the crab, cut the shells, and extract the meat.

Simple, fast, and finger-licking good.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Steaming hot and spicy, chicken noodle soup with a gentle touch of Masa sauce will be the ultimate dish for a cold night.

This soup is incredibly aromatic thanks to the garlic, fresh parsley, and celery. 

However, a fair warning, you might end up perspiring from the heat, so make sure to have a couple extra napkins on hand!

How to Store Mala Sauce

Even though your homemade Mala sauce doesn’t have any preservatives, there is a drawback 一 its shelf life is shortened.

However, it also depends on whether it’s been stored open, or unopened

Skim through the storing methods to learn how to make your Mala sauce last the longest.  

Store Mala Sauce in the Fridge

Some might suggest you keep Mala sauce in a cool place, away from direct sunlight.

But you should store it in the fridge so it last longer.  

Simply use a clean airtight container and you’re good.

Storing mala sauce in the fridge will help the sauce last for about a month

If you notice any signs of degradation like a mold or an off odor, whip up a new batch.

Store Mala Sauce in the Freezer

Before you store this sauce in the freezer make sure it’s completely cooled.

You don’t want any moisture to accumulate on the lid of the jar, do you? 

Store your Mala sauce recipe in the freezer for up to 5-6 months and let it thaw in the fridge before using.

Additionally, you will have to heat it once out of the freezer.


mala sauce

Mala Sauce Recipe

Mala Sauce is a Chinese special sauce perfect for hot food lovers. It brings in new flavors to all of your favorite dishes and could be used as a dip or rub. Try this savory condiment today and your life won't be the same after.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Condiment
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 8
Calories 185 kcal
  • food processor
  • Skillet
  • 2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorn
  • 1/2 cup Dried chili peppers
  • 1/4 cup Toasted sesame oil
  • 3/4 cup Roasted peanut oil
  • 1 small Minced garlic clove
  • 1 small Minced shallot
  • 1 pod Star anise
  • 1/2 small Cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp Minced fresh ginger
  • Traditionally, pepper and chili flakes are finely ground first. Then they are combined with other spices such as fennel, clove, ginger, anise, cinnamon, and black cardamom and simmered in vegetable oil.
  • However, this famous sauce has seen many variations throughout different countries. And today we're going to make one of them.
Calories: 185kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 1gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 7mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3g



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